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World Cup Soccer: Article

Wireless Wealth from the Soccer Field?

Wireless Wealth from the Soccer Field?

One fascinating aspect of the unwired world is that it is no respecter of history or geography. And I don't just mean in the sense of "the end of the distance"; I mean in the sense that emerging economics are latching on to wireless technologies and leveraging them to get a jump on the rest of the world.

Take South Korea, not necessarily the first capital city to spring to mind when contemplating 21st-century capitalism - and yet, its capital Seoul is in the very forefront of the race to wireless.

Aided and abetted by the Korean industrial giant, Samsung, Seoul's DCMA2000 1x commercial wireless network is poised to secure Seoul as prominent a place in the wireless world as San Francisco has in the wired one.

Or take Finland, a nation famous - until recently - for vodka, lakes, and the Olympic middle-distance runner Lasse Viren...yet now known from Chicago to Shanghai for one thing and one thing only: mobile telephones manufactured by Nokia.

The parallels are everywhere: wireless technologies are propelling small nations such as Finland, Sweden, Ireland, and Israel into the limelight of international commerce. Wireless wealth can be found in national economies large and small, but whereas w-technology is not as yet having a transformational effect on the economy of the U.S. or Germany or even Japan, it does indeed have the capacity to transform the economy of South Korea.

Where better than the World Cup 2002 tournament that Korea is cohosting with Japan to try out video-on-demand (VOD) technology capable of allowing soccer fans to call up VOD services in order to watch replays of match-winning goals on their handsets?

It's received wisdom that return-on-investment is a major driver of the adoption rate of new technology; what is often forgotten though is that excitement is a major driver, too. People need to be excited in order to push them to adopt new services and new solutions.

Until then, it's easy to remain uncommitted - perhaps even downright unimpressed. The plethora of acronyms can all too easily bemuse even the most well-meaning early adopter: TDMA and CDMA, GSM and iDEN, MP3 and MPEG-4, the list is bewildering to all but a few.

So all eyes may well be on Seoul next year in more ways than one. Will people, in a rush to share the latest feats of Figo, start sending video clips over wireless networks? Will handsets throughout Korea and Japan reverberate with two-way alerts as folks are kept au courant with the score between France and Brazil? That is when W-CDMA will burst onto the scene, and not just because of the existence of "rich media apps" in the abstract.

After all, 2.5G networks are soft-launching in Europe already this year, and by 2003 up to 100 GPRS networks are planned to be live around the world. Color multimedia terminals are already being shipped, in the millions, worldwide...and countries like Korea and Japan will be at the forefront of showing what 3G networks can achieve.

Will wireless video unleash wireless adoption and wireless wealth? It might. Either way, Wireless Business & Technology will be here to see it try.

WBT will also be at the next CTIA event, September's latest wireless extravaganza...and come next May we'll be hosting our own West Coast event, Wireless Edge 2002 International Wireless Developer Conference & Expo, in Santa Clara, California, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, May 7-9.

So whether your interest is in wireless video or wireless audio, mobile commerce or mobile learning, Generation X or Generation Y, mobile phone calls between people or mobile phone calls between machines (M2M), then be sure to submit an application to speak - or at the very least an application to listen.

There isn't going to be another event like it anywhere on Earth, because only Wireless Edge 2002 has the full backing of WBT and its global-girdling network of writers and analysts and industry involvees. Nowhere else can you attend an event where a fellow speaker or a fellow attendee is as likely to be a CEO as a developer, no other conference and expo anywhere will have so comprehensive an approach to the business side of wireless as part and parcel of sustainable wireless solutions.

The convergence of wireless technologies, business, and the future is where people have come to expect to find WBT. In Santa Clara next May, that expectation will be royally lived up to.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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